maryperk73703: (The Void)
[personal profile] maryperk73703
A Christmas Tree.



Chapter 2

Buffy stepped into the Magic Box. She was glad that no one was around, not even any customers. She knew she needed to talk to Giles about her dream.

Giles looked up from his paperwork. "Good evening, Buffy. I wasn't expecting you tonight."

"Yeah, I know. I was just having ... issues." Buffy went over to the research table to sit down. "Riley's gone. Xander had me almost convinced I needed to get him back."

"What stopped you?" The Watcher's voice was filled with curiosity. He knew he should talk to Xander more thoroughly about how dangerous Riley's actions and words were for Buffy's well-being.

Buffy shrugged. "This dream I had the other night. It might have been a Slayer dream, but it wasn't as cryptic as they normally are. It might have been one of Spike's dreams.

"One of Spike's dreams?" Giles put aside his paperwork to concentrate all of his attention on Buffy. "What gave you that impression?"

"I was only an observer for most of it." Buffy told Giles about the dream up to the point where the pregnant Buffy started to talk to her. "The Buffy in the dream told me something that a spell is hiding from us."

Giles cleared his throat. "What was that?"

"The identity of Glory's human host." Buffy leaned back in her chair. "I also found out what she is exactly. When she touched my forehead, I just knew things."

" What kind of things? What is Glory?"

"A Hell-God."

Giles leaned back in his chair too. "Oh. Well."

"You're speechless, I see," Buffy commented with a laugh. "I love when I do that."

Giles looked over at his books, categorizing spells in his mind. "I'm sure I can figure out something that will help me with circumventing whatever spell Glory is using on her host. Although, it might take me a few days."

"Okay, I can live with that. I'm just worried about how little you've freaked out about the whole Spike dream thing."

"I think I'm a little more interested in other things like the identity of our current foe," Giles stated.

Buffy nodded. "Yeah. That is a biggie. Do you think you can find a spell so I can tell you all about her?"

"Yes, I will get right on that."

"Awesome. I'm gonna go home and spend some time with Mom and Dawn." Buffy shrugged. "Maybe listen to some carols and talk Mom into making Grandma Bennett's World Famous Eggnog."

"I'll let you know when I have something to tell you."

Buffy reached over and squeezed Giles' hand. "Thanks, Giles."

"You're welcome, Buffy." Giles waited until Buffy was gone before he pulled his paperwork out again. He needed to finish up the Magic Box ledgers before he could get to work on finding the information about the spell to help with the forgetting spell.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Buffy hung her coat up in the foyer of the Summers house. "Mom, I'm home," she called out.

"We're in the kitchen, honey," Joyce answered.

Buffy strolled into the kitchen where Joyce was at the stove making dinner. Dawn was at the table, doing her homework. "Hey, how about we put up the tree tonight. We can put on the carols, make some eggnog, and make a night of it. Just the three of us."

"I don't know if we have money for a tree this year," Joyce said slowly. "Even with the insurance, my hospital bill is going to be so much money."

"Well, we'll just have to think outside the box then," Buffy replied. "Why don't we get the decorations out and brainstorm alternative tree ideas. Just because a pine tree from the woods is traditional doesn't mean we have to have one."

Dawn grinned. "That sounds like a great idea." Anything that would cheer her mother up was okay in Dawn's book.

After dinner, Buffy and Dawn went up into the attic to find the Christmas decorations while Joyce made eggnog to the seasonal music being played on KSND. She wished she had some cookie dough hidden away in the freezer for an extra little treat.

Buffy and Dawn carried two totes down the stairs into the living room.

"I thought we had more decorations," Dawn said. She opened the tote that she'd been carrying.

Joyce looked a little guilty. "I had a small accident last year when I was putting the stuff away."

Buffy and Dawn both gave their mother a curious look. "Oh, what happened?" Buffy asked.

Joyce blushed. "Well, that's not important. What's important is what we have left. Why don't you get the ornaments out? I'm pretty sure that my mother's ornaments are in the box that Buffy brought down."

"There's something she's not telling us," Dawn said to Buffy. "What do you think it could be?"

Buffy studied Joyce's face. "I don't know. I don't think we had any demons rage through the house at that time."

"No, I don't think so either. No fires or floods either," Dawn replied.

"Maybe she spilled her wine in the tote and ruined everything."

Joyce laughed. "Fine. I tell you. Spike came by to tell me he was going out of town and he startled me. I dropped the tote at the top of the stairs. It didn't survive the fall."

"Spike came by to say goodbye?" Buffy asked, her voice tinged with curiosity. "Did he seem okay to you?"

"Why this sudden interest in your 'mortal enemy'." Dawn did air quotes with her fingers.

Buffy blushed. "Uh, Slayer dream?"

"You had a Slayer dream about Spike?" Dawn asked in clarification.

"Sorta." Buffy shrugged. "I had a Slayer dream about a dream Spike had."

The doorbell rang, interrupting the conversation. None of the Summers' women were expecting visitors. Joyce made her way to the front door. When she opened it, there was a man wearing a plaid shirt and jeans standing there.

With a tree.

"Mrs. Summers, I'm Terry from the Terrance Family Tree Farm. I'm delivering your tree for you."

"We didn't buy a tree," Joyce protested.

Terry shook his head. "No, Ma'am. It was gifted to you by a Lord Chesterfield."

Buffy squinted her eyes. "Huh, I remember you. Your lot had the weird dead trees."

"Oh yeah, I remember that. Haven't had a lick of trouble since that year. It's the strangest thing." Terry leaned the tree against the door frame. "Make sure you water this baby every day. You wouldn't want it to dry out. Merry Christmas." He waved back at the astonished women as he walked away.

"Lord Chesterfield?" Dawn looked at Buffy and Joyce. "Any ideas who that could be?"

Joyce just shook her head. "I haven't a clue. I don't think I mentioned to anyone how tight money is this year."

"Me either," Buffy said. She was mourning the loss of the knives from the pawn shop that she'd never get to have.

"I know I didn't," Dawn said. "Maybe it's Santa Claus."

"Don't let Anya hear you say that." Buffy wrinkled her nose. "She's convinced Santa is a demon that eats children."

Joyce blinked in surprise. "You have the most interesting friends, Buffy. Maybe we should have a little get together Christmas Eve for all of our friends. You can invite the Scoobies and Dawn can invite Janice."

"I thought we didn't have money for groceries," Buffy replied.

"We'll just make it a potluck."

"That sounds like fun," Dawn exclaimed. "I'll invite Janice in the morning at school."

"Well, let's get this thing set up." Buffy grabbed the tree. She carried it into the living room. She had seen the tree stand in one of the totes. "Dawn, grab the stand. Mom, where do you want it?"

Joyce closed the door. She failed to see the flash of white blond hair across the street. After the tree was decorated, the eggnog was drank, and party plans were hammered out, the Summers women went to bed.

The next morning, Buffy stumbled down the stairs in search of coffee. She walked past the living room, glancing in to look at the tree. Two feet past the room, she stopped dead in her tracks.

Something was different.

Buffy stepped backwards till she was in the living room entryway again. She blinked and shook her head, sure that what she saw was a vision.

But it wasn't.

Last night there hadn't been a single present under the tree, but now there were merrily wrapped boxes and bags piled up under the branches.

"What the heck?" Buffy whispered. With caution, she entered the room and inched towards the tree. The presents were marked for Joyce, Dawn and her. "MOM!"

Joyce rushed down the stairs. "What's wrong, Buffy?" Dawn was right behind her mother. They skidded to a stop in the living room doorway.

"There are presents under the tree. Someone broke in and left us presents."

"That is so cool." Dawn pushed past Joyce to join Buffy next to the tree. She picked up a package with her name on it. She read the tag. "To Dawn Summers, from Lord Chesterfield."

Buffy looked the presents over. "They all say they're from the same person."

"The one who sent the tree over?" Joyce stepped into the room. "How did they get the presents inside? We locked the doors last night." She turned to glance at the front door. "Still locked."

Buffy rushed to the kitchen to check the back door. "This one is locked too." She went back to the living room. "We need to change where we hide the spare key.

Joyce looked at the tree and the presents. She let out a sniffle. "I thought we wouldn't get a Christmas this year."

"It's wonderful getting the tree and the presents, but having you here is so much better." Buffy hugged Joyce.

Dawn joined in on the hug. "Ditto."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The floppy skinned demon slipped into the warehouse. He crossed the vacant first floor to the stairs that led up to an artist studio. Once he was upstairs, he waited with great patience for his friend to finish his work.

Finally, the artist looked up from his art. "Hey, mate. How'd it go?"

"Perfect. The Slayer and her family now have a tree and presents. What's the next part of the plan?"

"I'm not done with the presents. They're gonna be needin' food." The artist cleaned off his hands with a nearby rag.

"That's only a temporary fix," the demon said. "Too bad they don't eat kittens. There's always a good supply of them."

"I don't think Joyce is into munchin' on the felines."

The demon's ears drooped. "Probably not. So, what do you want to do about the food?"

"Go to down to Ralph's and get some of those gift card things. Then, leave them in places where they can find them." The artist went to the chest of drawers where he drew out a stack of money. He tossed it to the floppy skinned demon. "Use it all on food."
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